Sherlock Holmes - A Scandal in Bohemia by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Petr Kopl

Comic: Sherlock Holmes - A Scandal in Bohemia
Release date: (pre-release) September 2014 (English version)
Writer: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, adapted by Petr Kopl
Artist: Petr Kopl
Cover: full-color
Interior: full-color
Synopsis: Sherlock Holmes meets his femme fatale in one of his most famous adventures. The beautiful Irene Adler, perhaps the only woman in the world who can get one over on the greatest detective in the world has ever seen, is once again on the side of crime... but maybe not everything is as it first appears. Petr Kopl masterfully weaves events that seem unrelated while simultaneously solving two cases - the deadly danger of the speckled band and a foolish mistake by the King of Bohemia. The story takes place at the turn of the 20th century, which Petr Kopl calls Victoria Regina, a time of revolutionary inventions, precipitous events, ruthless criminals and the invincible Sherlock Holmes.

The Deal

Petr Kopl has already released this comic in Czech and won multiple 'Fabula Rasa' awards with this book in 2013. Now he and MX Publishing have brought these comic book adaptions (there will be more) of Sherlock Holmes stories to Kickstarter. There were only two pages shown on the crowd funding website, but I fell in love with the artwork straight away. I love Sherlock Holmes stories and I've seen quite a few comics, but usually the artwork is dark and gloomy. This is not. So I spent 12,00 GBP (10,00 GBP for the 160+ page comic book and 2,00 GBP on shipping) on the Kickstarter and never looked back.  

The Feel

The cover is made of thick but floppy paper that has a crease near the perfect bound spine. The interior pages are thin, it reminds me of newspaper print but it's thicker and much stronger than that. The bleached white and smooth feeling pages are matte and the printer has done a great job in transferring the colors to the pages. (The paper reminds me of the Marvel digest paper, but this is just a little bit thinner.)
The colors look almost the same as when you look at the digital pages on a computer screen and that's really good because not every color prints well. The beautiful detailed job Kopl has done on things like Sherlock's bathrobe are amazing. 
I can't find any printing mistakes in the lines and colors. The cutting of the pages is a whole different matter. There are quite a few pages that have been printed but aren't positioned exactly opposite one another. Then when pages are cut, some pages are exactly as they should be while the back side of the page might miss a couple of millimeters off the sides. You can tell if your copy has the same problem when you flip trough the pages and look at the page numbers. Sometimes the number has been partially cut off. It's a shame for such a beautiful book that feels so good in your hands and is so very readable without it closing on you. 
But to be honest, it's not a big problem. Most pages are fine and I wouldn't want to have missed this comic for this only flaw I could find.

The Story

I love what Kopl has done to the story, he's stayed true to the original and made it funny and introduced some other well known characters from the same classical era. I'm not going to tell you who they are, but they'll be hard for you to miss. Kopl's insight on Sherlock and the characters around him is an entertaining one. The story made me laugh, made me cringe (in a way only Sherlock can make you cringe, you'll get it when you read the story... especially if you're a woman). Whether Kopl is a writer drawing his own comic book or an artist writing his own comic book, the story fits the artwork perfectly. For those already familiar with the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, they won't be disappointed with this adaptation. 

The Look

So I got the thick cardboard package, opened it up and somehow it was much smaller than I'd expected. I don't know why I expected it to be bigger but I did. The size is 15 x 21 cm (just a little bigger than the Marvel Digest Size comic books). So first glance was a bit disappointing, but then I opened it up and was greeted by the artwork. Wow. That stopped me dead in my tracks. I am so happy that I finally found a cartoon comic style version of Sherlock Holmes that I love. The colors and shading are really good, Kopl uses a different pane layout on almost every page and does whatever the story requires of him to tell the story with his pictures. Some pages have lots of text, but it's never in the way and always easy to read and follow. He has a very distinctive personal style for the balloons, that I've never seen before. The pages flow easily before your eyes. If I want to say something bad about the artwork then it's probably that I like it so much I keep looking at it instead of reading the text and therefore take ages getting through a page. 
The characters (especially Holmes and Watson) are done beautifully. The facial expressions are very good, and never the same. I especially love Holmes' gloating face. Characters are well thought out and made to perfection, colors fit together. Backgrounds are there but it's though you're looking at them out of focus, which really lets the characters stand out even more. Lots of green and brown/orange. Like you'd expect in the Victorian age. Well I could go on and on but I think you'd better see for yourself. I'm not surprised to read that Kopl got the Fabula Rasa best artwork award in 2013 for this book.

The Conclusion

As I write this sentence I've just read over half the story and already I think everyone should get this comic book. It's a great read, funny, good, great artwork. Whether you're a Sherlock Holmes fan or not. The characters have great expressions, the jokes are a mix of current Sherlock on tv and old Sherlock Holmes from the master himself. 
Now, after reading all of it, I still feel the same way. I especially like what was done with the backgrounds, they're like works of art that have faded and became backgrounds. The colors used are stunning and really fit the story. Let's just say that I've already pledged for the next issue on Kickstarter. A total of five issues will be printed, that's the full work that Peter Kopl has done on Sherlock Holmes.

How to get a copy

It's been printed by MX Publishing (they specialize in everything Sherlock Holmes) in the United Kingdom. I'd expect it to hit some UK shops, it's already available trough and but you can also get it from their website and shipping is included if your order exceeds 15,00 GBP. Since this one is just 9,99 GBP and the next comic by Petr Kopl is expected (according to their kickstarter) to hit UK shelves in November 2014. I'd wait a little and save on shipping. If you know of a store that sells these issues let me know and I'll post a link here.

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